Sunday, August 8, 2010
"Schmuckin' funny" is the lead quote describing DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, the American remake of a French film called "LE DINER DE CONS" which in 1998 was loosely translated as THE DINNER GAME. But by 2010, the translation has devolved to the offensive DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS -"schmuck" being Yiddish for "penis." So I guess we know which way this thing is headed. It's a film that has descended from its French roots and washed up on our shores as a coarse and nauseatingly funny piece of flotsam in which Steve Carell is barely able to contain himself as Barry the "idiot" whom Tim (Paul Rudd)brings to dinner. It's blood sport for Tim's boss and his ring of corporate cronies who amuse themselves by seeing who can win the prize for bringing the biggest jerk. Though Rudd is a great straight man and Carell does lovable nerd better than anyone, I didn't believe in any of these characters.
Almost every scene goes on too long, i.e. the female stalker who busts up Paul's relationship and chic apartment; Jemaine Clement as a randy satyr with hooves; Barry helping Tim when Tim's back goes out. There is one unbelievably funny scene where Barry meets a rich Swiss client and tries to make friends. But then there's Barry's hobby which involves dressing up dead mice and staging them in poignant scenes from Barry's own pathetic life. As the movie strays into sentiment, it gets creepy--especially the climactic dinner scene where Barry is emotionally flayed and hung out to ridicule. If we're going to take that trip, we need a much surer hand at the helm. As it was I was too queasy to laugh.
Let's just call the whole thing "schmawkward."
Posted by Joyce Kulhawik at 9:25 PM